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Urology Care Foundation The Official Foundation of the American Urological Association


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Filling Cystometry and Pressure Flow Study

Filling cystometry and pressure flow study are part of Urodynamic testing (sometimes referred to as UDS). These bladder function studies help diagnose problems related to urine control (or urinary incontinence), difficulty emptying the bladder, urgent or frequent need to urinate, weak or intermittent urinary stream and recurrent urinary tract infections.

Generally, there is no preparation necessary for this testing. However, sometimes you may be asked to stop taking certain medications in advance.

Before the testing you will be asked to empty your bladder as best you can. A small soft tube (called a catheter) is inserted into the urethra until it reaches the bladder. The catheter allows the bladder to be emptied completely (measuring the amount remaining in the bladder after urination known as residual urine) and then to measure the pressures in the bladder. Another small catheter is also placed into the rectum. This catheter allows us to estimate the pressure on the outside of the bladder in the abdomen. The bladder is then slowly filled with liquid (usually sterile water, sterile saline or a sterile fluid that can be seen on x-ray). You will be asked to describe sensations that you feel in your bladder. You may be asked to cough or bear down to look for any leakage.

When you feel that your bladder is full and you have a strong urge to urinate, you will be asked to urinate into a special commode chair. You will be asked to urinate with the special catheters in place. This allows your health care provider to look at pressure and volume measurements and bladder function as you urinate.

After the studies you may experience some burning, urinary frequency and/or urgency. You may also have some pink color in the urine. If discomfort persists, fever develops or urine appears bright red, a physician should be notified.

Reviewed January 2011

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Cystometry Glossary
  • abdomen: Also referred to as the belly. It is the part of the body that contains all of the internal structures between the chest and the pelvis.

  • bladder: The bladder is a thick muscular balloon-shaped pouch in which urine is stored before being discharged through the urethra.

  • catheter: A thin tube that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder to allow urine to drain or for performance of a procedure or test, such as insertion of a substance during a bladder X-ray.

  • continence: The ability to control the timing of urination or a bowel movement.

  • cyst: An abnormal sac containing gas, fluid or a semisolid material. Cysts may form in kidneys or other parts of the body.

  • cystometry: Alco called cystometrogram. A test used to assess the function of the bladder by measuring the pressure/volume as the bladder is slowly being filled. Cystometry is used to assess bladder, urge sensation, capacity and compliance. There are different variations of the test depending on the problem being investigated but regardless of the technique, the test always involves insertion of a catheter into the bladder.

  • frequency: The need to urinate more often than is normal.

  • incontinence: Loss of bladder or bowel control; the accidental loss of urine or feces.

  • infection: A condition resulting from the presence of bacteria or other microorganisms.

  • ions: Electrically charged atoms.

  • rectum: The lower part of the large intestine, ending in the anal opening.

  • residual urine: Amount of urine remaining in the bladder after urination.

  • saline: Containing salt.

  • sterile: Incapable of becoming pregnant or inducing pregnancy.Can also mean free from living germs or microorganisms.

  • urethra: A tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. In males, the urethra serves as the channel through which semen is ejaculated and it extends from the bladder to the tip of the penis. In females, the urethra is much shorter than in males.

  • urge: Strong desire to urinate.

  • urgency: Strong desire to urinate.

  • urinary: Relating to urine.

  • urinary frequency: Urination eight or more times a day.

  • urinary tract: The system that takes wastes from the blood and carries them out of the body in the form of urine. Passageway from the kidneys to the ureters, bladder and urethra.

  • urinary tract infection: Also referred to as UTI. An illness caused by harmful bacteria, viruses or yeast growing in the urinary tract.

  • urinate: To release urine from the bladder to the outside. Also referred to as void.

  • urination: The passing of urine.

  • urine: Liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder and expelled from the body through the urethra by the act of urinating (voiding). About 96 percent of which is water and the rest waste products.

  • urology: Branch of medicine concerned with the urinary tract in males and females and with the genital tract and reproductive system of males.

  • vas: Also referred to as vas deferens. The cordlike structure that carries sperm from the testicle to the urethra.

Cystometry Anatomical Drawings

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